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Translated by Heather Cleary
On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, Doctor Quintana pines for head nurse Menéndez while he and his colleagues embark on a grisly series of experiments to investigate the line between life and death. One hundred years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object.
How far are we willing to go in pursuit of transcendence? The world of Comemadre is full of vulgarity, excess and farce: strange ants that form almost perfect circles, missing body parts, obsessive love affairs and flesh-eating plants. Here the monstrous is not alien, but the consequence of our relentless drive for collective and personal progress.
‘[Comemadre] arrives like a shockwave.’
‘Larraquy has written a perfect novel: spare, urgent, funny, original and infused with wonderfully subtle grace.’
‘Shuttling between B-movie horror and exceedingly dark comedy, the novel is somehow both genuinely scary and genuinely funny, sometimes on the same page—a wickedly entertaining ride.’
‘The mind-body divide becomes deliciously literal in Comemadre, Argentinian writer Roque Larraquy’s grotesque novel of art, lust, and ego…Layered without growing dense, the book is crisply comic, scenes punctuated like punchlines. That it all happens within a mere 130 pages is a sort of magic trick – the dizzying kind where a body gets sawed in half.’
‘Slyly funny and viscerally affecting, in a fluid translation by Heather Cleary, Comemadre is the medicine-meets-art horror story of my dreams.’
‘[Comemadre] spins old unreliable narrator techniques into a freshly comic and grotesque examination of the various ways that we try to justify the unjustifiable.’